The Bees Are Getting Busy at The Irish National Stud!

In 2019, the Irish National Stud & Gardens established a honey bee apiary managed by Dr. Brendan Kavanagh, a retired University Professor and Zoologist. Presently, the apiary boasts 10 hives, producing over 150kg of honey annually, available for purchase at the visitor’s center.

Local honey offers distinct advantages over mass-produced varieties, being 100% raw and filtered minimally to retain its natural properties. It serves as a natural remedy for allergies, particularly hay fever, as it contains pollen from local plants and flowers.

The bees play a pivotal role in pollination, aiding the flourishing of flora around the stud. They primarily gather nectar from various trees and flowers, contributing to the vibrant ecosystem. At the moment, they are primarily gathered from dandelions, and generally in spring, they are known to land on beech, hazel, mountain ash and sycamore trees as well as daffodils, snowdrops and whitethorn. The hives are strategically positioned away from the main stud area, so they don’t interfere with the horses or our visitors.

During the bee season, Brendan monitors hive activity, ensuring optimal conditions for honey collection. He observes the bees’ behaviour, assesses hive weight for food sufficiency, and waits for the right temperature to begin harvesting.

Pure Irish honey is unique in that it exhibits flavour and colour variations influenced by factors like seasonal changes and hive origin; this  means that almost no two jars are exactly the same. Produced through the concerted efforts of up to 50,000 worker bees, under the queen’s guidance, honey is derived from the nectar collected by foraging bees and processed within the hive. She is constantly fed a high energy diet by the workers and can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day.

As autumn sets in, excess honey is harvested, leaving ample provisions for the bees to sustain through winter. With the queen’s reduced laying activity, hive population decreases to around 5,000 individuals, huddling together for warmth until spring’s renewal.

Have you had the pleasure of savouring Irish National Stud honey? Embark on a flavourful journey with this locally produced delight, crafted with care by our diligent beekeeper Brendan. The Irish National Stud 100% pure honey is available in our gift shop. 



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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland

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